Written by Mojo, reviewed by Amanda Barge, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist
Your ED could be caused by many things. These could be something physical, psychological, or even lifestyle-related. Here, we’ll be focusing on how to treat your ED if it’s psychological.
Psychological erectile dysfunction is a big umbrella term that covers all the different ways your mind can shut down your erections. There are many effective treatment options, no matter what is causing you to experience psychological erection issues.
We’ve worked with our in-house expert, psychosexual and relationship therapist Amanda Barge, to get a run down of all the different ways you can treat your ED if your erection issues are psychological.
“When it comes to erectile dysfunction, psychological treatment can be extremely effective.
Spending time (mindfully) working out what is actually going on, and practicing getting in tune with your body can be a bit like training for a long run – you need to put the practice in to get results.”
Amanda Barge, psychosexual and relationship therapist
In no particular order, our handy guide will cover:
For each cause of psychological ED, we’ll be explaining how to impacts your erections and – the best bit – how to go about solving the problem.
Everyone feels anxious occasionally, but if you’re feeling consistently anxious on a day-to-day basis, this can begin to slip into your sex life.
Increased adrenaline can send you into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which overrides your impulses to get hard. Instead of getting turned on, your instincts are telling you it’s time to run or fight for your life.
Even if you don’t enter full ‘fight or flight’ mode, constant worry is unlikely to lead to great sex.
Plus, feeling anxious all the time can lower your libido and put you in a bad mood (no surprise there). This means that anxiety and low mood can sometimes go hand-in-hand.
This specific kind of anxiety involves all the same ingredients as general anxiety (worry, fear, and adrenaline) but it only pops up in a sexual context.
This could mean you spend all day before a date worrying about how you’ll perform in the bedroom. Or it could mean that during foreplay, your body enters ‘fight or flight’ mode.
It creates a big disconnect between your mind and your body – where your mind is racing so much you can’t actually enjoy being turned on.
SPA can be (understandably) triggered by a one-off negative experience in bed. And if you’re in a state of heightened fear that ED will strike again, you can quickly lose confidence.
These worries can lead to a negative spiral where every encounter with SPA (and ED) makes another more likely.
Stress can trigger lots of physical and mental symptoms, which can hold up your sexual functions.
Feeling stressed also makes it harder for your body's systems to communicate with each other – making it more difficult for your brain to tell your penis to get hard.
When stress hangs around and becomes chronic, you might need more support to get your erections back on track.
We all know living with depression is difficult. But not everyone knows that it can impact your erections. This is because it can unbalance your brain chemistry and lower your libido. All this makes it harder to get hard.
Some medications for depression (like SSRIs) can also make it a struggle to get an erection. But some guys find that SSRIs help with psychological ED – so don’t come off medication without speaking to a healthcare professional.
Porn isn’t necessarily bad, but if you feel like your porn watching habits are impacting your erections, you might want to rebalance your relationship with porn.
Porn may contribute to unrealistic expectations about sex, body image, and penis size. All this can make you feel bad about yourself and ultimately set off sexual performance anxiety.
Plus, porn often showcases a narrow view of what sex is, how to get aroused, and how long sex should last. This could make it harder to get and stay hard in different sexual situations.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your masturbation routine, you might start to think you can only get hard or finish if you follow your standard solo sex procedure. This can make it harder to get hard for partnered sex.
These techniques are very hard to recreate with a partner, so using them consistently might make you think you’re unable to get and stay hard during partnered sex.
This is a classic case of the chicken and the egg. ED can trigger problems in your relationship, and problems in your relationship can trigger ED.
There are plenty of still things you can do on your own and with your partners to start fixing the root of the problem, which will eventually lead you to better erections.
It’s hard to get sexy when you don’t feel sexy.
Feeling insecure about your body can spark negative thought cycles.
This could mean that you don’t feel confident enough to get naked and vulnerable with another person – or it could increase your adrenaline levels and trigger sexual performance anxiety.
All of this makes it much more difficult to get and maintain a boner.
When you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing in the bedroom, sex can become less sexy and more stressful.
Feeling inexperienced or unskilled can lead to feeling like you’re not good enough altogether.
All of these thoughts can trigger sexual performance anxiety, or it can cause you to start avoiding sex in general.
When your sex drive takes a dip, your brain stops delivering the chemical messages you need to get arousal and form an erection.
It’s totally normal for your sex drive to increase or decrease at different times in your life, but if you want your libido back, there are steps you can take to make it happen.
Major life events – like having a baby, buying a house, or changing career – can take your attention and energy away from sex.
It’s normal for your sex drive to dip when you have a lot going on, but you might want to look into treatment if the problem persists and it’s getting in the way of your erections.
If your body isn’t feeling full of energy, it’ll be much harder to maintain a fulfilling sex life and strong erections. Erectile dysfunction caused by lack of rest could be a real sign that you need to give yourself a break.
You might have noticed that therapy pops up as a recommended treatment for almost all psychological ED problems. In-person therapy is an amazing option for many guys, but we understand that the price tag and the waitlist aren’t for everyone.
At Mojo, we use expert-led psychosexual therapy techniques to treat erection issues in an accessible, anonymous way. We’ve also got all the community support, expert advice, and practical strategies you could need to get your erections back on track. Sound appealing? Check out this free trial, so you can give it a go – no strings attached.
And, trust us, this stuff really works.
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Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.